A little twist to the traditional lemon cake. Spruce up your holiday table and serve this olive oil lemon cake with basil and pomegranate. Find more of my pomegranate recipes.
When it comes to gift-giving, I tend to be a procrastinator. I know some people have all of their holiday gift shopping done way before November rolls in. I am definitely NOT one of those people.
When my kids were little and they didn’t pay too close attention to the latest and greatest toys out there, it was easy. But now, even for family and friends, I’m finding myself dreading the holiday shopping.
I always tell my husband, when it comes to gifts, it’s about the thought behind the gift, not the gift itself. So for me, I like to give (and receive) homemade gifts. Edible gifts are my favorite!
Why this recipe is so awesome
Since I wrote a cookbook all about cooking with extra virgin olive oil, I’m obviously a big fan of that green stuff! I fry with olive oil and cook with olive oil all the time. I even shared with you cocktails with olive oil. But my favorite method, by far, is to bake with olive oil.
I have already shared with you my recipe for vanilla olive oil cake. This is a standard vanilla cake that I use for my kids birthdays.
It might sound strange, but adding herbs to desserts is not at all unheard of. And I’m talking about going beyond mint. I have an apricot galette made with thyme and a grape upside down cake made with rosemary. So for this olive oil lemon cake, I chose to use basil.
Lemon and basil pair so well together so that was an easy addition to the flavors. You can enjoy this cake alone or drizzle the lemon glaze over it. I garnished my olive oil lemon cake with more of winter’s colors and flavors: pomegranate arils, chopped pistachios, lemon zest and even some more fresh basil.
I think it turned out gorgeous and delicious. What do you think?
Ingredients you need
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- Extra virgin olive oil: I bake almost exclusively with olive oil. Choose a mild flavored oil and NOT a peppery one. You can also use a lemon infused olive oil for more lemony flavor.
- Greek yogurt: Baking with yogurt yields a very moist muffin. If you do not have plain yogurt, use sour cream.
- Eggs: When it comes to baking, it is standard to use large eggs.
- Lemons: You will use the juice and zest from lemons, both in the cake, in the icing and as a garnish.
- Fresh basil: You can also use fresh mint or rosemary. Fresh has more flavor and impact than dried, so please try to find fresh herbs.
- Garnish: Pomegranate arils and pistachios
- Pantry staples: All purpose flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Tools to Use
1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs until combined.
3. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
4. Stir in ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil and then pour mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch loaf pan coated with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.
5. Place the cake in the oven at 350ºF and cook for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Place the cake on a cooling rack, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
7. For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with 2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the cake prior to serving. Garnish cake with pomegranate arils, 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios and ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil.
Recipe tips and FAQs
I have made this olive oil lemon cake in many forms over the years. The cake below was made for The Professor and his friends before they headed off to homecoming. I added lemon juice and lemon zest to simple buttercream frosting and it turned out heavenly! Such a delicious and sophisticated cake for everyone to enjoy!
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Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate
A little twist to the traditional lemon cake. Spruce up your holiday table and serve this olive oil lemon cake with basil and pomegranate.
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 large eggs
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Apply non-stick spray to one 9-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together sugar, yogurt, olive oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, lemon zest, and eggs until combined.
- In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
- Stir in ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil and then pour mixture into prepared cake pan.
- Place the cake in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place the cake on a cooling rack, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
- For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with 2 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth.
- Drizzle glaze over the cake prior to serving.
- Garnish cake with pomegranate arils, 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios and ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil.
Serving Suggestions: Perfect for your afternoon tea or served with fresh seasonal fruit.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 205mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 7g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
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beautiful cake…especially with those red pomegranate dotting the top…it looks perfectly tempting and scrumptious,thanks for sharing 🙂
I ant stop staring at that fab cake and the even better picture. Would not have thought to put lemon and basil together in a cake. On my super yum list.
This sounds sooo good I love the combo! I’ve actually been looking for an indoor herb garden tool because I can’t’ seem to keep anything alive outside
Looks heavenly! I love adding herbs to my baked goods.
I love lemon cakes and this is so pretty with the pomegranate topping!
Pomegranates! Love them and their little bursts of flavor. Great picture too. 🙂
Wow Laura, this cake is absolutely stunning – and so beautifully festive! I’m struggling to get my butt out and go shopping for gifts right now. I blame it on being busy (it’s true) and it being too cold outside (even truer). Maybe I’ll just bake everybody a loaf of this and call it a day ;).
Oh yum, I love the addition of pomegranate, works so well with the lemon and transforms the cake into something very special.
The airo garden is a super cool idea. Need to show that my mum, she will love it. Do they have gardens like that for the heavy humid rainy season? That would be too cool because fragile colder climate plants don’t like high humidity.
btw I feel the same way about giving gifts. The thought counts.
Oh my goodness, how gorgeous is this! And such a great combination of flavors and colors, too. Bravo!
Glad I’m not the only one who still has names to cross off the shopping list. I can never seem to finish until just a few days for Christmas. On another note, I love, love this cake. It’s not only gorgeous but the flavor combinations are wonderful. My herbs are done for the season so maybe I should look into the AeroGarden. I bet it’s fun to see the herbs grow!
You always have beautiful recipes using pomegranate! This cake looks so beautiful!!! And I love that basil is in the cake! I have never tried that before! Sounds really delicious!
This is absolutely gorgeous!!
What an amazing indoor garden! Your cake on the other hand is more than amazing!
Wonderful indoor garden. maybe my black thumb will turn green. GREG
Simply gorgeous lemon cake and I love all the flavors you’ve got going on here! Normally my hubby sounds a bit like yours in the gift giving department, but after he surprised me this past weekend w/ my wine tasting trip to Temecula, ALL is forgiven 🙂
I love the lemon/basil combination… and the addition of pomegranate is just exquisite! My man and I have decided not to buy too much for each other, as we really need to downsize nowadays! Happy Christmas to you and yours and thank you for a great recipe!
Lemon and basil? And pomegranate? Lovely combo! Great cake, and that indoor garden thingy looks way cool. Mrs K R and I have gotten to the point where we don’t exchange gifts anymore – neither one of us wants more stuff, and anything we do want we just buy anyway. We do exchange small things – it’s fun to shop for each other! – but really just fun little trinkets. Anyway, fun post – thanks.
1. I can’t stop staring at this stunning cake. It reminds me of the very delicate, lavishly decorated glass Christmas ornaments in those fancy boutiques. Seriously gorgeous!
2. After reading all the AeroGarden posts, I’m totally tempted to ask for one for Christmas. I love gardening, so the thought of doing it all winter (without dirt & weeds aka me making a mess) is super appealing.
3. (okay so I lied about it only being two things) I love lemon + herbs in sweet things, so I need to try this cake!
You are so sweet, Kelly! Thank you! I have to say, growing these herbs was a no brainer. Especially when you are busy and tell yourself all the time, “I’ll water the plants tomorrow” and never do. These babies would be dead if they were in the traditional pot!